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Press Releases, 8/7/2015

EU and Vietnam agreed on free trade

Press release 182/2015

The European Union and Vietnam reached political agreement on a free trade agreement on 4 August. The technical details of the agreement will be finalised by the end of year. The free trade negotiations between the EU and Vietnam began in 2012. The concluded agreement is broad-based and, in addition to customs and services issues, it includes commitments relating to technical regulation, public procurement and state trading companies. The agreement also has regulations on environmental legislation and employees' rights.

"The free trade agreement is important for Finland," says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka. "It improves Finnish businesses' access to the market and strengthens their opportunities in Vietnam, which is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia," Toivakka says. With regard to Finland's exports, it is important that the agreement removes customs duties on machinery and equipment and liberates the trade of environmental technology products. It also improves Finnish companies' opportunities to provide environmental and telecommunications services in Vietnam.

In 2014, Finland's exports to Vietnam totalled some EUR 80 million and imports EUR 151 million. Finland exports to Vietnam mainly machinery, equipment, means of transport and forestry products and imports clothes, shoes and furniture.

The free trade agreement continues the economic reform process in Vietnam which started in the 1980s. In addition to Vietnam, the EU is conducting free trade negotiations with the Pacific Ocean countries. Vietnam is a member of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, and in 2007, it acceded to the World Trade Organisation, WTO.

Inquiries: Marjut Akola, Head of Unit, tel. +358 295 351 105, and Marja Koskela, Diplomatic Adviser to Minister Toivakka, tel. +358 40 352 0463.

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Updated 8/7/2015

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